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Notes stolen from various sites and collected together -

How a Helmet Works

In a crash, a helmet absorbs the impact before it reaches the head. It absorbs and spreads some of the impact energy through its outer shell, which is usually made of fiberglass or plastic. Most of the impact, however, is absorbed by the liner that reduces the force of the impact from being transmitted directly to the head. This liner is usually made from polystyrene foam, lies between the outer shell of the helmet and the comfort liner and the foam layer that actually touches the head.

Be Sure Your Helmet Meets The DOT Standard.

Make sure that your helmet meets the Department of Transportation's (DOT) Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 218. (For US riders) First, look for the DOT symbol on the outside back of the helmet. Then, look for a label inside the helmet stating the manufacturer's name, month and year of manufacture, construction materials, helmet model and size, and owner information. A complying helmet must have both labels. To Learn More About DOT, Visit this DOT & SNELL M2000 Page.

Make Sure Your Helmet Is Well Made and Not A Cheap Helmet.

Helmets that comply with the federal safety standard will have a firm polystyrene (Styrofoam) inner liner of about one-inch and weigh about three pounds. They will also have sturdy chinstraps with solid rivets. Safe helmets will never feature spikes or other protruding decorations.

Think About Style.

Full-face helmets offer the most protection in a collision. Plastic face shields protect you from wind, dust, rain, insects, and road debris thrown up from cars. If you buy a helmet without a face shield, be sure to wear goggles to protect your eyes. Remember, a windshield is not an adequate substitute for a face shield or goggles. And neither are eyeglasses as they cannot keep your eyes from watering and are easily dislodged. A design such as the German Army style or skull cap style would be considered to be an unsafe helmet. Generally, unsafe helmets are noticeably smaller in diameter and thinner than ones meeting the DOT standard.

Use Your Helmet To Be Seen On The Road.

Brightly colored helmets increase your visibility to other vehicles. Add reflective tape on the back and sides of the helmet for even greater visibility. Decrease the chances of you getting hit by a car. Let's all be safe.

Make Sure Your Helmet Fits Properly.

Always try on a helmet before you buy it. Your helmet should feel snug and it should not turn freely around your head. It should not be able to move back and forth on your head. A helmet should not in any way prevent you from turning your head to observe traffic. All helmets are required to provide the wearer with a 210º field of vision. If you purchase a helmet without trying it on first, then please be sure that it fits! If it doesn't feel comfortable and snug, then return it immediately for an exchange. When you wear a properly fitted helmet, wind noise is actually reduced. Although a helmet does reduce the intensity of sounds, it reduces the intensity of all sounds equally. Loud external sounds such as car horns and sirens are still very audible above all other street noises. Each brand of helmet fits differently. So, try on a variety of brands to find the one that fits you best. The dealership staff will assist you with the proper fit.

Always Fasten and Tighten The Chinstrap.

An unfastened helmet will fly off in a crash. Whenever you have the opportunity, check the chinstrap to make sure it is still secure.

NEVER Wear a Damaged Helmet.

Is your life worth buying a used helmet? Is your life worth wearing a helmet you know was in an accident or a fall? It's definitely not worth mine. I would never wear a helmet that was involved in ANY kind of accident that may have reduced the integrity of the helmet. A used helmet may have been involved in a crash and damaged in ways that are not obvious. Even falls from places like the motorcycle's seat or the end of a handlebar shorten the life span of a helmet. Be sure to replace your helmet if it has been in a crash. Any damage to a helmet reduces its effectiveness, so replace your helmet if it has been damaged. If you are not sure that your helmet needs to be replaced, arrange to return it to the manufacturer for inspection. Care for your helmet as indicated in your owner's manual.

Other Notes -

Head injury is a leading cause of death in motorcycle crashes. A rider without a helmet is 40% more likely to incur a fatal injury in a crash than a helmeted rider. The Department of Transportation?s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) tests helmets to determine whether they comply with the safety standard covering motorcycle helmets. By law, manufacturers must certify that their helmets meet or exceed Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 218 by placing the symbol "DOT" on the back of the helmet. However, some helmets do carry the DOT label even though they do not meet those requirements.


Labels with the following information must be permanently affixed to each helmet:

Manufacturer's name and identification
Model designation
Month and year of manufacture
DOT symbol compliance certification
Shell and liner composition
Cleaning instructions
Warning against any modifications

[ 01-13-2003, 03:36 AM: Message edited by: gsxrboy ]

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97 Posts
Originally posted by GIXXERUK:
just for anyone in the UK or coming to the UK
the snell mark isnt legal in the uk

only the british standard BS mark or the ACU gold
the ACU gold is what is needed to race with
<font size="2" face="Verdana, Arial">GUK, ACU Gold is race cleared, and Blue is road cleared, what is Silver? Any idea?

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Just for any Brits coming to the US, unless it says DOT on the back, you are risking a ticket
However there is talk that the BSI standard is now acceptable.

Whilst it is illegal, I added a DOT sticker to my Shark lid a few years ago, as it passes BSI/Gold I am happy that my head is as safe as it was in the UK....
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